Rice may not be a difficult dish to cook when compared to other common foods, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improving the process. You can always make something easier and faster and purchasing a rice cooker is the best way to do that with your rice. Even if rice isn’t the only thing you’re looking to make more efficient, a rice cooker has the potential of making several foods a bit easier for you. If you’re lost on where to start, don’t stress; we have you covered.
We reviewed dozens of rice cookers to identify the best of the best. We looked for pressure rice cookers that will tackle more types of food than just rice as well as mini rice cookers for the dorm life. We found the counter rice cookers that feed a family of ten and the microwave-safe rice cookers for the smaller meals, too. No matter what type of rice cooker you need, we have the best options for you.
From the beginning of our research the Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker stood out, and all throughout it became more and more obvious that it was the obvious choice for our best overall rice cooker. With a cool-to-the-touch surface, you’ll be able to take this rice wherever you need it to go, possibly making you the most popular at a potluck.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Rice Cookers
|Best Rice Cooker Overall||Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker||4.1|
|Best Pressure Rice Cooker||Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker||4.6|
|Best Budget Rice Cooker||Imusa Electric Rice Cooker||4.5|
|Best Mini Rice Cooker||Dash Mini Rice Cooker||4.3|
|Best Rice Cooker and Steamer||BLACK+DECKER Rice Cooker||4.2|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Rice Cooker Overall: Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker
The Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker has a removable inner lid and inner pot to make clean up a breeze. Included with your purchase of this rice cooker is the rice paddle (which is easily stored along the side of the cooker), the plastic steamer tray should you want to use this as a steamer, and the inner pot that is nonstick to make your rice come out perfectly each time you use it.
This rice cooker will easily hold up to 8 cups of cooked rice for plenty to serve your whole family, or to meal prep your healthy lunches for the whole week. The digital display takes all the guesswork out of your rice preparation – you’ll simple program it for what you place inside and let it be. You can even set it on a delay to make sure your rice is perfectly cooked and fresh for you when you get home from work.
Over 14,000 customer reviews on Amazon suggest this is certainly a rice cooker that’s popular, and with an overall rating of 4.1 stars, that popularity seems to be for good reason.
Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker Key Features:
- 15-hour delay start
- 8.25″W x 8.5″D x 9″H
- 3 color options
Best Pressure Rice Cooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
This Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker comes with You won’t need to worry about the safety of this pressure cooker, either; it has ten different safety features in place to ensure your safety. It has overheating protection, a safety lock and more to make sure that both you and the cooker won’t be harmed by the heat or the pressure used to cook your food.
There is a lot a pressure cooker can do, but the rice cooking function is the real seller. Not only will you have your rice cooked perfectly, without ever having to touch it, but you’ll also be eating that rice so much faster because the pressure cooks it fast. Depending on your serving, you may be able to cook the rice (to perfection) in just three minutes!
Because of its versatility, the popularity of Instant Pots have sky-rocketed and this one is among the most popular of them all. With right around 40,000 customer reviews on Amazon (you read that right, forty thousand), it has an overall rating of 4.6 stars – pretty impressive!
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker Key Features:
- 14 one-touch programs
- 3 model choices
- 3 sizes available
Best Budget Rice Cookers: Imusa Electric Rice Cooker
The Imusa Electric Rice Cooker has a nonstick bowl so you’ll be able to clean easily after use and you’ll be able to customize your cook with just one button, controlling the cook and warming functions. The tempered glass lid includes a venting hole to make sure your rice is steamed exactly the way you like it. Included with the purchase are a spoon and a measuring cup so you’ll have all you need right out of the box.
If you don’t need the bells and whistles but still want perfectly cooked rice on a regular basis this rice cooker can give you that with zero problems. You won’t have to worry about the sticking or hard rice that often comes with a little bit of neglect when you’re cooking rice on the stovetop and for frequent rice-eaters, that’s bound to happen occasionally.
The numbers don’t lie and wow, the numbers are nice on this rice cooker. Not only does it have an overall rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon, earned by over 700 customer reviews, but it also has a cost that’s unbeatable for its quality. You can pick this up for under $20!
Imusa Electric Rice Cooker Key Features:
- Cook/warm light indicator
- 8.8″L x 10.2″H x 6.9″D
- 3 capacity options
Best Mini Rice Cooker: Dash Mini Rice Cooker
The Dash Mini Rice Cooker comes with a rice paddle, measuring cup and a recipe book so you’re well on your way to the best rice you’ve ever made with this one purchase. The interior bowl is coated with a nonstick, PFOA coating and removable so cleaning it won’t ever be a problem.
For a compact space, this rice cooker is a huge win. You’ll cook enough for yourself, (but probably not more) without occupying too much of your counter space. If you have plenty of other gizmos and gadgets in your kitchen, this will easily fit in a cabinet, or stay on the counter without annoying you with extra clutter – depending on how often you use it. It’s also perfect for your RV, too. And for the small apartments or even dorms that don’t have any real kitchen to speak of, this may be the very best solution to inexpensive cooking. (Yes, it does also fit a package of Ramen, and it cooks it just fine.)
Over 2,000 customers have come back to Amazon after purchase to leave reviews and with that many reviews, you can count on the 4.3-star review being an accurate representation of this rice cooker’s quality.
Dash Mini Rice Cooker Key Features:
- 2-cup capacity
- 5 color options
- 1-year warranty
Best Rice Cooker and Steamer: BLACK+DECKER Rice Cooker
The BLACK+DECKER Rice Cooker has two heat settings, to make sure that after your rice is done, it won’t burn, nor will it get cold. The keep-warm setting allows you to finish your rice and steamed vegetables without stressing over whether the rest of your meal cooked in time. If the chicken needs another fifteen minutes in the oven, it’s no big deal!
If you regularly find yourself pressed for stovetop or oven space for a meal, this dual-purpose rice cooker could be just the ticket to ease the meal-preparation stress. You can even avoid your oven altogether by steaming vegetables first, then cooking your rice after. It takes so little time, the vegetables won’t have time to cool before the rice is done and by adding them right back into the rice with sauce, you’ll have an entire stir-fry-esque meal with only dirtying one pot.
This rice cooker and steamer combo has an overall rating of 4.2 stars, and while that’s solid enough to tempt you, you’ll definitely appreciate the fact that such a rating was awarded by well over 5,000 customer reviews.
BLACK+DECKER Rice Cooker Key Features:
- Includes cooking base, steaming basket, rice paddle, and measuring cup
- Removable nonstick bowl
- 3 sizes available
Who Should Buy a Rice Cooker
If your family eats a lot of rice, there’s every reason to invest in a rice cooker. Not only does it make rice fast, but you’ll have rice cooked to perfection every single time, too. If you struggle with cooking multiple dishes and always forget to stir your rice while it cooks, or remove it from the hot pan to fluff and prevent scorching, you may find yourself with a rice-caked pot to clean. A rice cooker will take the difficulty completely out of cooking rice and make sure your clean up is an easy one.
For the family who doesn’t eat a lot of rice, it still may be worth investing in a rice cooker that has multiple uses. Often, rice cookers function as steamers, too. And though you may not use it for rice, steaming vegetables is an excellent way to cook them without depleting them of all their nutrients. The rice cooker will allow you to steam fast and, frequently, in larger quantities, making it a huge win for a bigger family.
If your stovetop could still use a bit of TLC, despite you using your rice cooker more and more, then you may want to check out The Best Range Hoods.
Important Features to Consider
A rice cooker should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a rice cooker:
- Pressure. A pressure cooker does have the ability to cook your rice to a tender and moist finish, and to do so quickly. However, there are a few downsides to pressure cooking that you’ll want to consider. Anything with pressure runs a risk of the fast release of that pressure. Before the pressure cooker because a common appliance, the stovetop alternative would often come with cautionary tales of explosions and burns. There are safety valves that prevent this kind of thing in pressure cookers these days, but if it malfunctions, who knows? You’re likely to never see any ill consequences like these, but it’s good to keep in mind, nonetheless. This also means you also won’t be able to lift to check the progress of your food or to add seasoning.
- Countertop rice cookers. Long before pressure cookers became a commonplace kitchen appliance, rice cookers were still used to make your rice quickly and efficiently. You’ll easily be able to use a countertop rice cooker, just as you would a crockpot – plug it in, program the settings and go. It’ll take so little time you won’t want to leave, but you don’t need to stick close by to stir as you do other methods of rice cooking. They’ll even often feature a nonstick surface to keep your cooker from requiring an intense scrub when you clean up.
- Programs. There’s a pretty large range of capability in a rice cooker and you should definitely look into it before purchase. If you love fresh rice but have an on-the-go life, you may really appreciate a delayed start setting. With this, you can prepare the rice in the morning and have it ready for you when you get home. But keep in mind that the rice will absorb the water all day, so you may want to save this feature for smaller delays. You could also find a rice cooker that utilizes Bluetooth to be controlled on your phone.
- Multi-use. Much off the multi-purpose rice cookers will be pressure cookers, but it’s key to remember that not all pressure cookers are meant for rice and likewise all multi-purpose rice cookers use pressure to cook. Rice cookers will commonly be able to steam and that’s a big help, especially if you don’t like to use your stovetop, or you don’t have the appropriate pots and pans for this undertaking.
- Glass lid. Though it’s not always possible with a rice cooker’s design, we love the glass on a rice cooker so that you can see how well it’s coming along. As long as it’s not a pressure cooker, you’ll be able to lift the lid to see, it’s true, but the release of the steam and heat will only make the cooking more difficult.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a rice cooker and how does it work?
A rice cooker is an appliance that will cook rice. – Pretty obvious, right? Well, the way it works may not be. There are a few common methods of rice cooking that you’ll be able to appreciate; each has its use and may fit your home best. The most common rice cooker is the independent countertop appliance that will have its own power source and cooks rice evenly and quickly. The pressure rice cookers will cook the rice even more quickly, and have dozens of other uses as well. A microwave rice cooker is just a microwave-safe venting, the steam reliant cooker that you can use to cook your rice quickly in the microwave. It may be the fastest, but it isn’t necessarily the best to get consistent results.
What else can you cook in a rice cooker?
Though the rice cooker may be named for one task alone, it’s not the only one it can do. Pretty much any cooker that can cook rice will be able to also cook oatmeal and similar grains. It will also be able to steam your vegetables brilliantly, as well as make foods such as baked apples, hard-boiled eggs, beans, lentils, applesauce, and even some bread.
Keep in mind, there are multi-purpose rice cookers that will allow you to use the one appliance for literally hundreds of foods. If the rice cooker is one that uses pressure to cook, then you can absolutely use it to cook practically any meal, but the appliances that have presets for that food are all the more convenient. After all, wouldn’t you rather just hit one button and let it go than to look up how long to cook each thing every time you cook something?
What makes a rice cooker better?
If there’s an appliance that is specifically designed to cook a specific food, then it’s a safe bet that it cooks rice best. For rice, faster is better, so the method that cooks it the fastest is very likely the best. For rice to cook faster, it may be self-explanatory, but you’ll need higher temperatures. The higher temperatures and faster absorption time for the rice grains to absorb the water means the sweeter the rice. It will be more firm, as well, and less likely to be a mushy mess when it’s done.
Can I open rice cooker while cooking?
Why would you? The beauty of a rice cooker is that you can set it and forget it. Rather than on the stove, you won’t need to stir the rice at all, and you won’t need to worry about it burning or being undercooked. If you’ve programmed the cooker poorly, and it is undercooked, you can just put it in for a little more and easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, you should be set. Along with the need not being there for the opening, you’ll lose some of the heat and steam, making the rice cook less evenly and less efficient.
For some types of rice cookers, it’s more than simply inadvisable to open during cooking, but it’s flat-out dangerous. You won’t want to open a pressure rice cooker, for example, or the quick release of the pressure could explode and hurt you, the cooker, or your home. Luckily, most have safety locks to prevent it, but if you’re the curious type, then you’ll want to make absolutely certain to get a rice cooker that doesn’t use pressure.
Other Rice Cookers We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other rice cookers. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best rice cookers list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your kitchen. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Counter Top Rice Cookers
You’ll be able to pull the cooking interior out of this rice cooker to make it so portable you can take it right to the table.
- 3 colors available
- 1-touch operation
- 2-6 cup capacity
This rice cooker will keep your food warm until you’re ready to eat it without burning.
- 2 size options
- 2 models available
- Auto-switch to “Keep Warm” function
You can use this compact rice cooker for rice or soups and either will be cooked to perfection.
- Removable inner pot
- 6 cup capacity
- Steamer attachment included
Set this rice cooker to a preset program and it will take care of the rest.
- Includes steamer basket
- 2-8 cup capacity
- 4 cook functions
This rice cooker is an excellent way to cook your rice and so much more that you may use this one appliance more than any other in your kitchen.
- 4 preset cook functions
- 2 size options
- 2 model available
This countertop rice cooker is compact enough that you can store on your counter without the frustration of clutter.
- 3 size options
- Removable cooking pot
- Pot and accessories are dishwasher safe
Program your rice to be cooked to the exact specifications you want, no matter what type of grain-type you’re cooking.
- 2 size options
- 2 delay star settings
- Carrying handle
Microwave-Safe Rice Cookers
This will cook enough rice within it to offer you a larger portion meal or will make a side for your family’s meal.
- 2 models available
- Lid and paddle included
- Dishwasher safe
With this microwave-safe rice cooker has a inner lining that will make clean up super-easy.
- Dishwasher safe
- 8 cup capacity
- Includes locking lid
With so many accessories, this rice cooker has all you’ll need to cook a variety of foods flawlessly.
- 12 cup capacity
- Dishwasher safe
The included measuring cup and rice paddle make sure that as long as you have the rice, you’re all set from the moment you open your purchase.
- 4 sets available
- 4 model choices
- 6-cup capacity
The locking lid will make sure only the heat and steam that escapes is the amount that’s needed to make your rice tender and moist.
- Phthalate and BPA-free
- Cool-to-the-touch design
- Top rack dishwasher safe
Mini Rice Cookers
You can use the handle on this rice cooker to take it to work and have fresh rice for your healthy lunch option.
- 4 cup capacity
- Auto-keep-warm function
- Includes measuring cup and paddle
If you want to take a rice cooker with you to a friend’s to help with dinner, this one is ultra-portable.
- Digital or analogue control panel
- 2 color options
- 3 cup capacity
The removable interior bowl is the easiest cleaning method that you’re sure to appreciate.
- 15 minutes to finish
- 1.0 L capacity
- Removable nonstick pot
This compact rice cooker is so small, you’ll be able to keep it on the counter with hardly a sacrifice of space.
- Single-switch control
- 3 size options
- Includes measuring cup
Pressure Rice Cookers
This 5.2 quart capacity pressure cooker will allow you to create so many other foods, you may never use anything else.
- 24-hour preset
- Instant keep warm function
- 1-year warranty
This rice cooker has eight functions, but the best result comes when you use it for your rice.
- Nonstick coating
- Stainless steel design
- 8 built-in programs
This pressure cooker is German-engineered to last and will allow you to cook two dishes at the some time – a huge time saver!
- 19 smart programs
- 6 quart capacity
- Tempered glass lid
This pressure cooker comes with a steaming basket, silicone ring and hand gloves as well as a measuring cup and rice paddle so you’re set for a wide variety of food preparation.
- LCD display
- 6 quart capacity
- 10 preset cook functions